Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Jack Leads the Oscar Pack

Nicholson, Caine, Kidman, Streep. A lot of familiar names are circulating -- often in more than one category -- in this year's Oscar acting races, which are a lot less murky than the Best Picture contest.

Here's a category-by-category rundown of the shoo-ins, likely contenders and the wild cards.

ACTOR

SHOO-INS: Jack Nicholson, About Schmidt, Michael Caine, The Quiet American.

LIKELY: Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York, Tom Hanks, Road to Perdition, Derek Luke, Antwone Fisher.

WILD CARDS: Edward Norton, 25th Hour, Leonardo DiCaprio, Catch Me if You Can, Adrien Brody, The Pianist, Sam Rockwell, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Campbell Scott, Roger Dodger.

THE BUZZ: This is shaping up as a battle between the two veterans: three-time winner Nicholson, who's a lock for a 13th nomination for playing a world-weary retiree, vs. Caine, who has two supporting trophies on the mantle, having his best shot ever at the top prize as a world-weary war correspondent.

Early audiences agree Day-Lewis' brutal bad guy is the best thing in Gangs, but he may turn out to be a 'tweener -- it's neither a lead nor a supporting role.

And though newcomer Luke has a lot of buzz as a troubled Navy man who triumphs over adversity, very few debuts have ever been nominated in this category.

ACTRESS

SHOO-INS: Julianne Moore, Far From Heaven, Nicole Kidman, The Hours, Meryl Streep, The Hours.

LIKELY: Renee Zellweger, Chicago, Nia Vardalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

WILD CARDS: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Secretary, Salma Hayek, Frida, Diane Lane, Unfaithful.

THE BUZZ: With her two co-stars -- Kidman dons a false nose as Virginia Woolf, Streep plays a modern day Mrs. Dalloway -- splitting The Hours vote (she's in the supporting category for that movie), this is Moore's race to lose as a '50s suburban Job in a mink coat in Far From Heaven.

That's barring a sweep by the more crowd-pleasing My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Chicago -- whose lead actresses both get marks for their pluck. There's often a surprise in this category, and they typically involve newcomers like Gyllenhaal, who gets major props for playing a masochist so sweetly.

SUPPORTING ACTOR

SHOO-INS: Ed Harris, The Hours, Chris Cooper, Adaptation.

LIKELY: Paul Newman, Road to Perdition, Dennis Quaid, Far From Heaven.

WILD CARDS: Ray Liotta, Narc, Tom Hanks, Road to Perdition, Alfred Molina, Frida, John C. Reilly, Chicago.

THE BUZZ: This is the most competitive acting race, with a collection of extremely showy roles -- except for Reilly in one of his patented dopey-husband parts, who may nevertheless benefit from a Chicago sweep.

Sentiment says that Cooper, Quaid, Liotta and Molina -- four worthy veterans who've never been nominated -- are more deserving than Hanks, Newman and Harris. But history suggests things often don't work out that way.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

SHOO-INS: Kathy Bates, About Schmidt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago.

LIKELY: Julianne Moore, The Hours, Patricia Clarkson, Far From Heaven, Cameron Diaz, Gangs of New York.

WILD CARDS: Meryl Streep, Adaptation, Samantha Morton, Minority Report, Bebe Neuwirth, Tadpole.

THE BUZZ: Kathy Bates takes off her clothes and provides much-needed laughs in her rather grim comedy. But she may not be able to hold off Zeta-Jones, who steals Chicago as Velma Kelly by virtue of the fact that she's the only one of the leads who can actually sing and dance worth a lick.

While it would be delicious to see Zeta-Jones face off against Neuwirth -- who won a Tony in the role on Broadway but lost it in the movie -- it's doubtful Miramax, the studio releasing both films, will spend the money needed to help achieve this ironic outcome.

For more news, entertainment and sports coverage, click here for NYPost.com.

See the latest updates on the hottest midterm races from Fox News

Full Elections Coverage →

Keep up with all the 2014 races in

Coverage →